I am [modern] woman; Watch me cook

Sarah in Almonte Riverside Boutique Inn garden - by Amy Eaton

Housewife has become a dirty word for my generation. It hearkens back to another time, when gender equality was virtually nonexistent.

But now, even in this fairly gender-equal era, I want to stay at home. I want to work from home, cook, clean, garden, decorate. I want to be a “housewife”.

Sure, I was raised conservatively, and yes, my mother was a homemaker (less offensive but still sounds outdated) for most of my life. Yes, I always wondered if she would have preferred to have a career besides being a mother to six, if given the choice. She didn’t.

The best parts of my week generally always have to do with cooking something well, trying a new recipe, planting and harvesting vegetables, feeling a sense of accomplishment after cleaning the house or doing laundry.

The hardest parts of my week are trying to cram everything into evenings and weekends: extracurricular work, special cleaning projects, ongoing laundry and dishes, meal planning and prep, exercise, dog-walking, quality time with my man, not to speak of time with friends and family, and, of course, keeping up with pop culture as everyone is expected to do.

For some (many?) women, being a career professional is no doubt a life stage they are happy with and settled into. Proud of, even.

But I’m in the camp that would like the chance to check emails on the porch with coffee; to have the time to grow a big vegetable garden, and to preserve the extras; to clean the house and do the grocery shopping and walk the dog and make dinner before my man gets home, so we can enjoy our evening together; to just pop into the kitchen to make a fresh lunch; to start dinner more than 20 minutes before I want to eat it.

Is this my middle-class privileged pipe dream? Maybe so, but I haven’t given up on it yet.

~~~

Photo by Amy Eaton of Winsome and Whimsy Photography. Taken at Almonte Riverside Boutique Inn, Almonte, Ontario.

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Reblog: “Me, Myself, and I”

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A poignant reminder to take time for ourselves as women… Thanks so much for this, Megyn!

ScrambledMeg

Selfish is such a dirty word.  We are taught, as young girls, that SELFISH is something you should definitely not be.

And then we grow up.

We give ourselves to school.  We give ourselves to our friends.  We give ourselves to our boyfriends.  We give ourselves to our husbands.

OK, occasionally, we get our nails done or we go for a pedicure or a girls’ lunch, but when do we give ourselves to OURSELVES?  When does that EVER happen?

Have you ever spent an hour, sitting quietly, cross-legged, all by yourself, asking “WHO AM I?”  I will tell you, it’s an interesting hour.   I had no idea what I would discover and, frankly, I thought I would discover that it was a waste of precious time.  But, I was wrong.

I discovered that I am peaceful.  I think about all kinds of things that have no relation to making money…

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{Locality} The Ruralist

Ruralist

No, I’m not done writing my papers, but I love the Locality series too much to let it drop during finals season. Besides, The Ruralist doesn’t need much introduction or explanation.

The Ruralist was envisioned by my friends Erin Roy and Erin Samuell (no, not every cool person in my area is my friend, but I’m proud to say many of them are). These two with-it and savvy local businesswomen are trend-spotters and with this website, they have become trend-setters.

They realized that there was a need for a curated collection of the best items from the best little stores across rural Ontario (and maybe someday the rest of Canada?), a sort of Etsy for unique finds and experiences you can’t get in the city. This site is for those urbanites who imagine the country as one big pile of cow dung and need the gems pointed out to them by someone in the know, someone who can view those gems through the lens of the personal touch and great design.

That Perfect Piece

It’s for those “ruralistas” like myself and my friends, family, and readers who are from rural areas but refuse to associate with the image of cow-tipping, straw-chewing, “ain’t”-saying hicks. Sure, there are hicks, and we love them for the flavour they bring to our community, but we believe we have culture, too. We have style. We love quality. We are unique and proud of it.

The Ruralist website was soft-launched a week ago, as was their Facebook page, so you can be one of the lucky readers who knew about this project when…! Subscribe to the blog and “Like” the Facebook page to see the eye candy they are posting, and start to get proud of rural Ontario. If you’re not already on the bandwagon, that is.

Ruralist promise

In a few months, the Ruralist site will have a shop aspect to it so that you can click through and see all of the shops across Ontario that have been Ruralist approved, and connect directly to their websites. Meanwhile, there is a steady stream of great photography (Erin Samuell IS one of Canada’s best, after all), lovely design, and an inspiring collection of things to do, see, taste, and so much more.

Oh, and if you search the Ruralist for “Sarah”, you’ll see my face! 🙂 You might even see more of me as time goes by.

What are you waiting for? Rural Ontario is waiting.

~~~

PS: If you (or someone you know) are a rural Ontario business-person and you think you’ve got something the Ruralist editors would love, or you’re interested in purchasing a micro-site in the upcoming Ruralist shopping section, send me a message telling me about your business and what you think the Ruralist editors would love about it. If I agree with you (;)), I’ll pass your message on to Erin and Erin.

{Locality} Bayfield’s newest boutique store: Hive

Hive

Nestled in the back of an old European-style courtyard, between my favourite café and one of my favourite shops in Bayfield, you will find the village’s newest store, Hive.

Owned by quiet but vibrant artist and educator Jenny Wallace, Hive is one of those place where you can guarantee that everything on display is “hand-picked” (Jenn’s word), or curated, by someone with a first-rate eye for style. It’s a place where you might find some earrings, or a scarf, or a hand-painted bike bell, or a unique throw cushion, or eye-catching wall art.

Jenny in the mirror

Jenny in the mirror

Says Jenny,

What I am trying to create is a store that is vintage inspired; where things are collected, reworked, and re-imagined. I love mixing and matching and revamping. Pairing art and craft with real life. Using creativity, being resourceful and taking chances and colliding unlikely time periods or styles together to create a really individual outfit or decor.

Hive is the kind of place Jenny herself would like to find: “For me, the shops that have always got me going were the ones that were off the beaten path, filled with a little bit of everything and I wasn’t just sure what I was looking for but left with something really special.”

"Let's party!"

Many somethings special are on display right now at Hive. Jenny tells us about a few:

Hand painted bicycle bells from Montreal called dringdring, vintage inspired dresses from Shabby Apple whose sales support the Unitus charity, hand made silver and gold jewelry from Vancouver called Sugarlime, hand made jewelry using cork and rhodium from Brazil from Toca Jewelry, fair trade sterling silver rings and earrings that are hand stamped from the Karen hill tribe people of Burma.

Jewellery

But that’s not all!

I also have pillows, scarves, recycled glass bowls, bamboo bowls, vintage jewelry, clothing from Pink Martini, summer tunics, nautical inspired hooked rugs, handbags, wall art, shopping baskets, picnic baskets, vintage garden accessories, vintage inspired metal parlour tables and chairs.

Pillows and bowls and blankets and lanterns, oh my!

Pillows and bowls and blankets and lanterns, oh my!

Jenny displays her wares on one-of-a-kind furniture, each piece with its own story, such as the examining table from her grandfather’s doctor’s office, or the workbench that originally lived in a piano factory. Everything about this store screams, “I was brought here intentionally because Jenny thinks I’m awesome and she has great taste!”

This is Jenny’s second store in Bayfield. She previously owned Bare Bum Studio, a shop on the other side of Main Street where she sold jewellery, scarves, handbags, and art. It also served as her studio. After owning the store for five years, Jenny sold it in  August 2010 to attend teacher’s college. Almost two years later, the vision that began with Bare Bum Studio has evolved and grown into a more mature retail store.

another collection...

Why Hive? I couldn’t say it better than Jenny herself:

I was looking for one word that was memorable and simple, descriptive but not limiting. I settled on Hive because it evoked a sense of home, a busy and ever-changing space, place of gathering, and a place where things are collected from elsewhere and brought back to.

Inevitably, I had to ask Jenny what it’s like to own a shop on the Main Street of Bayfield, one of Southwestern Ontario’s favourite boutique shopping destinations. Shoppers are looking for an adventure, she says, for a “different shopping experience,” one that they might not be able to get elsewhere, one that includes one-of-a-kind items they can’t get at the mall. They also look forward to meeting the owner and getting to know them over time.

Scarves

Hive will be open as much as possible throughout the year, but Jenny does have a winter occupation as well as a “Bayfield” one (which, as everyone knows, exists primarily between May and November). She is a supply teacher, which allows her to open the shop on weekends while school is in, and go to her “winter occupation” during the week. Besides, the off-season downtime means that Jenny can do studio work, and travel, one of her very favourite things.

But enough about the off-season. We’re heading full speed ahead for the on season! Don’t miss Hive on your next trip to Bayfield!

earrings

To connect with Jenny, “like” Hive on Facebook, email HiveOfBayfield at gmail dot com, or call 519-565-HIVE (best number ever!).

Locality: Inspirational blogger Melissa Wormington

wormingtons

Melissa Wormington has a way with words that is honest and heartfelt. You feel like you know her, like you are walking through life with her.

I haven’t officially met Melissa, but her daughter Makenna is friends with Johnathan’s niece. I came face-to-face with Melissa for the first time shortly after her home was destroyed in the Goderich tornado on August 21, 2011, and heard part of her story first-hand that day, as she told it to John’s brother-in-law’s parents, her neighbours.

Melissa was at home making cookies that sunny summer afternoon, as her kids played nearby. Her husband, Jeff, a volunteer fireman, was at the fire hall, washing his pick-up truck. Suddenly, the power went out, and a few minutes later, her family safely in the storage room in the basement, Melissa heard rain and wind “pounding on the outside walls.” Above them, the noise of things breaking and crashing was deafening.

Thinking it was merely a quick and severe thunderstorm, Melissa didn’t stay put in the basement after Jeff decided to see what had happened outside.

I peeked around the top of the basement stairs into our front hall and came face to face with the front door to our house, the storm door, laying right there on the floor in front of me, as well as leaves, dirt, stones and just…debris. I could see the screen door outside on the porch. It was still pouring rain. I saw that our living room window was smashed.

Out on the street, they were astounded with the destruction from what they assumed was a “thunderstorm”.

Damage on West Street

Damage on West Street

Read what happened next on Melissa’s post Tornado – Sunday August 21: Part 1.

Her first-hand experience is raw and moving. She has since posted about the tornado’s effects on her family, her neighbours, and the rest of the town several times. If you want to gain an understanding about what it was like for tornado victims, Melissa’s blog is a fantastic place to start.

The Story of Us

This quote is from her post “Tornado in Goderich: Trauma

At my office we have lots of paperwork and reading material on trauma, surviving it and the effect it has on families. Some of it was centred around the events of September 11 2001. I had read it when I came across it, and have attended workshops in the past about the effects of trauma on families…most of those relating to the effects of witnessing or experiencing domestic or child abuse. But none of it really stuck with me over the years.

Until now.
Now I get it.

Melissa has been an inspiration for her fellow citizens, and has told her story several different times to journalists and filmmakers and others. Her story is also available in the locally-published compilation of stories, Not Like Any Other Sunday.

Thank you, Melissa, for your humility and honesty, for your transparency.

~~~

You can read all of Melissa’s posts about the Goderich tornado here.

You can also follow The Story of Us on Facebook.

If you know of a local person, business, event, etc. that you think deserves some publicity, I would love to feature them in my Locality series. Please comment, tweet me @sarahnadian, or email me at sarahnadian@gmail.com.

I’m a Woman! Today is my day!

international womens day

Ra! Ra!

Today is International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of womanhood and true femininity, a day when women’s issues (abortion, contraception, equality, etc.) get talked about on every radio station, news report, and newspaper around the world.

This notion of celebrating women on one day every year is just over one hundred years old. It began with a Socialist Party of America declaration in 1909. The idea soon spread across the pond to Copenhagen and then Germany, and so the movement became international.

Initially, as you might imagine, the movement reflected the values of the women’s suffrage campaign: equality of rights and voting.

Today is a day when we as western women are grateful for those matrons in long skirts and hats (I always think of the wacky mother from Mary Poppins when I think of suffrage. Unfortunate, I know.), wreaking havoc on patriarchal traditions everywhere they could, in an effort to be treated as they were: equal. Different, of course, but equal.

Today is a day when we are grateful for the second-wave feminists of the 80s who proved that a female executive was every bit as competent as a male one.

We do kind of regret the image of women as master multi-taskers, though. That’s the pressure that urges us to keep up with the housewives AND the career women: look amazing, be involved in our community, keep a clean house, raise smart and well-behaved children, cook healthy meals, usher our kids around to sports events, all the while proving ourselves as highly competent in the professional realm. I’m exhausted just writing all that.

Theory and history and multi-tasking aside, a day to be grateful for the people in your life is a good day.

To the many women that inspire me, thank you. I am honoured to know you. Thank you for speaking into my life, for believing in me, for giving me your time, respect, and trust.

I would name you, but there are too many to count, and I don’t want to forget any.

Please consider going out of your way to appreciate a person today, whether a man or a woman, though it is a particularly ideal day to appreciate the women you know. Like me. 😉

A Rant for the Scantily Clad

I get wanting to look sexy. I do. But isn’t there a line? Does anyone else think there’s a line between sexy and naked?

I fear that too few girls and women these days (yup, Imma throw out a “these days”) know where that line is. Either that or they don’t care. Either that or I’m the one that’s confused, and what looks sexy to me is really the equivalent of wearing a floor-length flannel nightgown, and what looks naked to me is prim and proper evening attire.

“But we’re young!”

So being young exempts you from respecting yourself?

“But we’re young and stupid!”

I’ll give you the stupid part. Wait – you made it into one of Canada’s best universities, so you can’t really be stupid.

“But we’re young and stupid and DRUNK!”

Ah. With alcohol involved, nothing matters. Especially your self-respect.

“Well…. we’re horny. So… You know.”

So you’re willing to look like you don’t respect yourself, put all your goodies on display for guys you don’t know, freeze your toes off wading through snow in your heels and bare legs, spend a lot of money on booze and cabs, feel like crap the next day, not to mention doing exactly what every other girl around you is doing, just for a chance at getting rubbed up against by an equally drunk and stupid stranger?

“But everyone–“

–is doing it? Sorry, hon, but that is a very old and clichéd line.

There’s something going on here that has to do with gender stereotypes and patriarchal values and the effect of the media, but without delving into much of the academic stuff, I wanna ask about something along the lines of myth and ideology: doesn’t it make you feel dirty, putting yourself on display like that in exchange for something temporary and meaningless? Don’t you know that you’re the one getting the short end of the stick?

I get wanting to feel sexy, wanting to look sexy.

What I don’t get is wanting to wear less clothes than a prostitute while paying for your own booze, then giving it all away to a random guy, for free.

“But we don’t pay for our drinks – the random guys buy them.”

WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO?! Clearly nothing else matters.

The Best Red

This may be the prettiest shade of red ever. In the realm of nail polish, I mean. It’s that perfect tone of cherry red. It’s even called “Cherry”!

It also cost about $4. From Joe Fresh. Go figure!

Today is only day 2, so I’m not sure o it’s staying power, but I’m hoping that the OPI base & top coats I used will help with that.

20111213-225408.jpg

Shorts and… Control Tops?

 

Not very deep, witty, or thought-provoking, I’ll admit, but it’s something I wonder about. Are girls these days not aware that pantyhose have a section at the top that is darker and often designated “(love handle) control top”… and which is NOT meant to be seen? Do their mothers not tell them that underwear is meant to stay under something else, and when it peeks out, it looks trashy?

What would compel a girl to say, “Oh, my control top is showing… meh”?

 

 

On Being Single, Living Alone, and Having Hardly any Single Friends

1. Your back gets patchily tanned and/or burned.

2. There is a distinct lack of motivation to wash the dishes.

3. Nudity can happen frequently at home.

4. Solitude aplenty. Solitude in abundance. Solitude to the extreme!

5. 10 AM seems bright and early.

6. Going alone to the beach is unavoidable.

7. Clothes, magazines, shopping bags, wine bottles, bags of chips, iPod cables, newspapers, mail, and water bottles on the floor in every room is just normal.

8. No one reminds you when you’re road-raging about that tailgater that you just committed the same offense on the way home yesterday.

9. You can drink water, wine, OJ, and coffee every day for a month without running out of clean glasses (at least, I can).

10. Never mind the old adage that you should take off one piece of jewellery before you leave the house; in my case, I have some I can’t put on before I meet up with other people.

11. The things you have in common with your girlfriends (now married with children) grow less and less. And less (something just happened as I wrote this that really drove the point home).

12. Stigmas about Old Maidendom get closer to home, whether in your eyes or others’.

13. Wanting to go out means you either a) scrape together the nerve to go by yourself (not likely); b) wait until that one single friend you have is available on a Saturday night; or c) play the anti-social card. Again.

14. Items of clothing with buttons up the back are, sadly, not for you.

15. You’re the first person people think of when someone asks them for a pet-sitter or house-sitter.

16. Without a man, you really have no idea how to care for your car and just hope nothing happens.

17. No one helps you dig your way out of your driveway in winter.

18. You can only have Housewarming parties so many times. Besides that, what can a single girl register for to get stuff like engaged and expecting girls do?

19. Fashion means more to you.

20. The baby behaviour, baby stuff, baby growth, baby names, and baby care references get old when you’re the only one without a baby.

21. Master of the fake smile you are.

22. You fear the cat-lady reference yet admit to being a candle-lady.

23. Eating in is a novelty.

24. Cooking for one isn’t. You begin to long for NYC, where everything can be delivered. Or, perhaps, to hire someone just to have someone else to cook for.

25. Plant-and-candle lady?

26. Things stay where you put them. Ordinarily.

27. You flip-flop between wanting to nest and wishing you’d never stopped to roost.

28. No one cares what time you come in at, and no one cares what time you come in at.

29. Only you face the consequences for too much shopping.

30. There’s no one to blame for anything else, either.